Ways of Seeing turns borough into gallery

Published 24 April 2019 by Owen

33 world-renowned artist's work, free for all to see has been placed in 28 unusual and unexpected locations across Waltham Forest from libraries and sports centres to schools and more. 

In partnership with the Government Art Collection, Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture are proud to present Ways of Seeing. Transforming the whole borough of Waltham Forest into an art gallery, Ways of Seeing will display the work of 33 internationally-known artists from the Government Art Collection in 28 unusual and unexpected venues across Chingford, Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow from 24 April – 31 August. 

An impressive total of 68 artworks by 33 artists have been selected from the Government Art Collection relating to ideas around production, landscape and nature connecting with the Borough’s rich history of creativity and its enviable mix of urban spaces, waterways and forest. Each work is in a specially selected location that responds to the piece, offering new ways to think about it and the borough. 

Penny Johnson, Director, Government Art Collection said “The Government Art Collection is delighted to be working with Waltham Forest Borough of Culture on ‘Ways of Seeing’, enabling works from the Collection to be enjoyed by so many people this summer across the borough. Promoting British art and creativity, and exploring questions of identity and Britishness, both in the UK or globally, is central to our work."

Highlights from the collection on display include a range of artists and ideas that span generations and borders. Capturing the mercurial nature of Epping Forest Sir Jacob Epstein’s 1933 painting Epping Forest will be hung alongside Clare Woods’s much darker Grim’s Ditch at The View & Hunting Lodge Museum, Visitor Centre, Chingford. Hew Locke’s How Do You Want Me? at Walthamstow Central Library and Guler Ates’s Eternal Maharana and She II at Newport Primary School will challenge ideas of power, national and personal identity and history. Both Michael Craig-Martin and Emma Hart at Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre and Leytonstone Library respectively will invite audiences to consider technology and the modern world we live in. 

The first two weeks of the project will see Mel Brimfield’s 4' 33" (Prepared Pianola for Roger Bannister) commissioned in 2012, making itself known at The Mall in Walthamstow Central. The self-playing pianola will be on display in a temporary empty unit, and with an average of 47,000 visitors to the shopping centre in one weekend, the art work will reach a huge new audience. In June key works by Cornelia Parker and Rachel Whiteread will open at the Vestry House Museum, keeping a momentum of new works to experience over the summer.

Sam Hunt, Creative Director, Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture said ‘The communities of Waltham Forest are at the centre of everything to do with London Borough of Culture and their involvement in the year takes many forms. In this case we are privileged to be working with the Government Art Collection supported by Art Fund to bring World Class visual arts into the heart of our communities. Substituting the rarefied space of galleries for our schools, museums, libraries, hospitals, a wellness centre, a shopping mall and our own civic building, the Town Hall, ensuring that local people and visitors alike can enjoy internationally acclaimed artists, on their doorstep. This is a wildly ambitious, unique project made possible by the generosity of our partners and will have an impact which will be felt across the entire borough. The context in which the works are viewed will be unlike any other before and so our way of seeing them and their surroundings will change. Watch this space, literally.’

Alongside the artworks on show a full programme of talks and workshops will take place adding insights about the art from the perspective of local communities and artists. Working with teachers and librarians, Government Art Collection curators will bring works to life in their locations. The programme aims to add layers of depth to artworks and add new dimensions to the works on show. 

Find out more about all the artists and locations here.